[Album Review] You Say Party- You Say Party
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Release Date: February 12th, 2016
Label: Paper Bag Records

You Say Party stand atop what looks to be a quarry. The world that the band traversed before their hiatus was one filled with swift beats ready to pickpocket distracted souls, intent on spending their new funds at dance clubs. But the You Say Party that drives the vehicle that is their self-titled record bears a new face. The band’s players don’t resemble the original set, and the “We Say Die!” element has been dropped to admire life, reflecting on the death of drummer Devon Clifford simultaneously. Maturity does not correlate with a near stone cold sound, yet You Say Party recognizes that this is a path worth pursuing.

The Abbotsford group haven’t lost their happiness and joy in creating such a project; their focus on the elements that create the soundscape of a barren land is ineffective in its lacklustre ways, however. Intro track “112” might feel like something Orphan Black’s Sarah Manning would have when she looms in and out of disaster, but its emotional tone lacks clarity. It shows no anger, and its level of sadness isn’t sufficient to be disheartening. “Friend”‘s bitter and frigid tones, whether through its shattering drums or icy vocals, demonstrate a good amount of style without reaching for an equal amount of substance. That said, the feeling of a widow singing in “Underside” and having strings that could someone’s annihilation in “Fortitude” indicate that quiet and loud can both be mustered very well by the band. The world of a wasteland becomes created by the sheer mass of each note. Hushed notes show how tiny one is to the environment, while loud ones hammer the largeness of gravel, of sand.

These sizes don’t care for melody, and it’s this nature that they craft the imagined realm that the band want to survive. Each notes is played not for the purpose of a verse-chorus structure, but in order to illuminate what lies on the slowly changing horizon. You Say Party doesn’t become post-rock, yet it has the calamity and turtle speed rhythms of such a genre. While vocals feel genuinely lost in their environment, strings add to the nature of being disoriented. Chelsea Wolfe’s Pain Is Beauty has takes reminiscent to this album’s greyness (“112”, “Sleepyhead”, and the majestically crushing “Heading In the Direction of the Rising Sun”), although You Say Party’s own are not sure of their conveyed emotion. Wispy, difficult to decipher vocals might be the crux of that issue.

Amidst these grey tunes, there are those songs that stand out through their New Order-influenced strings and electronics. The madly in love with the ’80s “Ignorance” and the previously mentioned “Underside” dabble with electronic horns and brass to meld their melancholic dances. Sometimes dream pop takes the reins to guide the album onto a path that’s madly in love with its attempt at emotions, however depressed or angry they might be (“112,” “Sweet Divine”). You Say Party has so much to say, and listeners would love to hear it, considering what the band has gone through, yet what has materialized doesn’t allow its listeners to feel lost in the empty, barren lands.

The moniker of You Say Party can feel like a question now: “You say party?” like the rhetorical follow-up would be something related to how life is continuing in the blink of an eye and that there’s so much worth exploring other than jamming at clubs. At least chasing the grey clouds in this place of grand, yet endearing emptiness, in this self-titled record, is a worthwhile venture for this band, and others should try it more.